It’s all to play for next weekend in Round 6 of the Heineken Champions Cup in what should be one of the most exciting climaxes ever to the pool stage of European rugby’s elite club competition.
Exeter Chiefs, Racing 92, Toulouse and ASM Clermont Auvergne joined Leinster Rugby in the last eight after Round 5, but no club has yet secured a home quarter-final.
Pool 1 winners, Leinster, who travel to Benetton Rugby next Saturday, lead the way on 24 match points, after Dave Kearney spearheaded a six-try spree and Ross Byrne kicked five conversions in their 42-14 home win over Lyon.
Two points behind the four-time champions are Exeter, Racing and Toulouse, who all clinched top place in their respective pools in Round 5.
Exeter drew 31-31 at Glasgow Warriors on Saturday in a Pool 2 thriller, with both sides scoring four tries and Matt Kvesic notching two for the Gallagher Premiership club, who host La Rochelle next Saturday.
Wasn’t the perfect performance but got the job done. North of the wall is always a tough place to play 🥶 Cheers @nowellsy15 for making sure the ball was down! 😏👍🏼 Also congrats to ©️ @joesimmo10 first time as skipper. Thanks to all those who made the trip up. pic.twitter.com/TdIa1VFOGv
— Matthew Kvesic (@mattkvesic) January 12, 2020
Meanwhile, Toulouse eased to a 21-7 success over Connacht Rugby in Pool 5 with three converted tries, although they had Zack Holmes sent off seven minutes from time. The four-time winners are at home against Gloucester Rugby next Sunday.
Yesterday, Racing hit back from 16-11 behind at home to Munster to defeat the Irish province 39-22 in Pool 4. Teddy Thomas claimed two of their four tries, three of which came in the last nine minutes to set them up perfectly for their mouth-watering trip to Saracens next Sunday.
Clermont clinched a place in the last eight with a 29-13 home win over Ulster Rugby on Saturday, the French club’s second-half display also being key in overtaking their nearest rivals at the head of Pool 3, after John Cooney, who scored all the visitors’ points, had given Ulster a 10-9 lead.
Here is how Pool 3 of the @ChampionsCup now looks with just one game remaining 👇
Don’t miss our crucial deciding fixture against Bath at Kingspan Stadium next Saturday!
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) January 12, 2020
The Pool 3 winners will be determined next Saturday, when Ulster host Bath Rugby and Clermont travel to Harlequins. The Irish province are currently the highest-ranked runner-up on 17 points – three ahead of Gloucester, Saracens and Northampton Saints, and five in front of Glasgow, with three runner-up places to be filled for the quarter-finals.
Gloucester jumped over Connacht with a 29-6 home win over Montpellier on Saturday, while Saracens leapfrogged Munster with a 22-15 victory at Ospreys despite having Rhys Carre sent off after four minutes, and yesterday Northampton rallied from 10-5 down to defeat Benetton 33-20 at home. The Saints, who grabbed four tries in the second half, now travel to Lyon next Saturday.